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Twelve Wonderful Things About Writing

Writers on Writing


Writing is a wonderful torment; it's banging your fists against the wall until . . . you have something you've written.
(Stephen Dixon, interviewed by Linda B. Swanson-Davies. The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, ed. by Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davies. Writer's Digest Books, 2006)

For most of us, writing is hard work. And writing well is even harder. But hard work doesn't have to mean drudgery.

In various ways, the difficult job of writing can also be deeply rewarding. As these 12 authors point out, writing can truly be a wonderful experience.

  1. [F]or the short term and the long term, you'll be doing yourself a favor by writing. All of us need it as a survival tool in a very complex world. The wonderful thing about writing is that it separates the meaningless and the trivial from what is really important.
    (Donald H. Graves, "Answering Your Questions About Teaching Writing." Instructor, 1995)

  2. The wonderful thing about writing is that it forces you to confront yourself in a way you usually don't have to. That is, needless to say, also the terrible thing.
    (Jonathan Rose, "A Retreat From the World Can Be a Perilous Journey." The New York Times, May 7, 2001)

  3. Writing is a wonderful catharsis, and the result of the effort of writing is frequently as dear to the author as a newborn babe to its mother, and just as vulnerable and tender.
    (W. Ross Winterowd, Rhetoric and Writing. Allyn & Bacon, 1965)

  4. The wonderful thing about writing is that anyone can afford to do it, and they don't have to show their efforts to anyone until they're ready.
    (Thomas Perry, "Interview With Thomas Perry." BestSellersWorld, January 25, 2003)

  5. [T]he wonderful thing about writing is that it enables you to travel wherever you want, and nowhere--not even the past--is inaccessible.
    (Joanne Harris, "On Coastliners." HarperCollins, 2010)

  6. Writing is a wonderful companion to our loneliness in a world where we stand alone.
    (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, On Grief and Grieving. Scribner, 2005)

  7. The wonderful thing about writing as opposed to speaking is that this is the world of second chances. We can rewrite and rewrite and rewrite as many times as we need to.
    (Gloria Kempton, Write Great Fiction. Writer's Digest Books, 2004)

  8. The wonderful thing about writing is that you're constantly having to ask yourself questions. It makes you function morally. It makes you function intellectually. That's the great pleasure and great reward of writing.
    (Robert Stone, quoted by William Safire and Leonard Safir in Good Advice on Writing. Simon & Schuster, 1992)

  9. The wonderful thing about writing is the process never stops. When I switch off the computer and go about my day at the theater, there is always a little typewriter going off in the back of my head.
    (Stephen Sachs quoted by Tom Provenzano in "Stephen Sachs Directs U.S. Premiere of Athol Fugard's The Train Driver." LA STAGE Times, October 13, 2010)

  10. That's the wonderful thing about writing. With every project, you learn and grow.
    (Martha O'Connor, "10 Questions with Martha O'Connor." Fiction Attic Press, 2010)

  11. A wonderful thing about writing is that you can revise, change images, ideas, write the same book better than before.
    (Bernard Malamud, The Tenants. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971)

  12. That's the wonderful thing about writing--you continue it throughout your life, and you don't reach an end to it.
    (Lee Upton, "If I Owe You I Want to Pay You." Delicious Imaginations: Conversations With Contemporary Writers, ed. by Sarah Griffiths and Kevin J. Kehrwald. Purdue University Press, 1998)

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